Executive Focus: Three Keys to Growing Your Company the Old-fashioned Way
Recent corporate financial scandals have called into question the quality of corporate earnings. Just because we don’t often hear about companies that thrive via positive, healthy, organic growth — by growing their customer base, creating new products and mastering operational efficiency — doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They do. What’s more, these companies convincingly demonstrate that you can be a high-performance organic growth company without resorting to accounting and earnings manipulations and without commoditizing and devaluing your employees.
So what’s necessary if you want to grow a successful big business organically? Below are the three keys to successful growth and a few examples of how companies make them work:
1. Live by an elevator-pitch business model. Companies that grow organically have a simple, easy-to-understand strategy and business model that easily can be related on a short elevator ride. These strategy models can be understood by employees at any level. These companies are disciplined and focused. Big innovations and new business models are not prevalent. Examples of these elevator pitches are:
Best Buy: Best Buy sells and services branded customer electronics, appliances, home office equipment and entertainment products.
Harley-Davidson: Harley-Davidson manufactures and sells motorcycles, motorcycle parts, and related apparel and accessories.
Tiffany & Co.: Tiffany designs, manufactures, and sells fine jewelry and luxury goods.
With simplicity comes employee understanding and engagement, because employees know where the company is headed, how it will get there, and what their individual roles are in that growth. Employees understand why their jobs are important and how they fit into the big picture. Simplicity is the key.
2. Measure everything. Without measurements, companies have no way to gauge performance. That’s why organic-growth companies measure everything, not just financial results. Operational and behavioral metrics make accountability more transparent, fair and objective. They are mission critical to long-term organic growth. These companies are measurement maniacs. What do they track? Metrics include people behaviors, detailed customer metrics, logistic/distribution chain metrics, supply chain metrics, customer satisfaction metrics, quality metrics and basic financial metrics, to name just a few.